Metro Tunnel Creative Program

  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Place Design

Commissioned By:

Rail Projects Victoria

Designed In:


The Metro Tunnel Creative Program has been developed to maintain Melbourne’s vibrancy, liveability and public engagement during the construction impacts of the Metro Tunnel Project. It features activities delivered by a team of designers, curators and place managers dedicated to enhancing city life alongside the construction of the Metro Tunnel.

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Image: Charlie Kinross
Image: Charlie Kinross
Image: Charlie Kinross
Image: Charlie Kinross
Image: Charlie Kinross
Image: Nicole Reed
Image: James Henry
Image: Phoebe Powell
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  • The Metro Tunnel Project is due to be completed in 2025 and will include two nine-kilometre train tunnels and five new underground train stations, which will enrich Melbourne’s public places. During construction, there have been significant changes and temporary disruptions to the urban landscape in and around the designated building sites. The design challenges are plentiful: - Provide uplift around construction sites while not increasing congestion - Help amplify major city events - Provide business support to those impacted by construction - Support Melbourne's creative industries such as ACMI, Koorie Heritage Trust, NGV, Royal Botanic Gardens and more - Help people easily navigate the sites

  • The Metro Tunnel Creative Program consists of placemaking projects to offset the disruption across the project’s worksites and in doing so, keeping Melbourne a vibrant and attractive destination. The program includes a regularly changing selection of curated artworks across the five kilometres of hoardings, creative business support and wayfinding, creative treatments on temporary construction structures including acoustic sheds and pedestrian gantries, use of digital technology such as augmented and virtual reality and built infrastructure such as pop-up parks. The program uses a range of commissioning methods such as Open calls, Artist Pool, partnrships, community projects and direct commissions.

  • The program has been received with resounding positivity from the community, client and stakeholders alike. In the words of our community: "It brings heart back to the city, reinstates what community means and why and how we love cities - that even though there is the necessity of infrastructure projects, there is something to celebrate and enjoy and experience." "It is a huge support to the arts community. It takes space that could be left blank or sold for advertising revenue and instead supports and showcases artists, promotes the arts in Melbourne and uses the walls to tell local stories."

  • As well as providing temporary placemaking activities such as pop-up parks and vibrant artworks on construction hoardings, the Creative Program partners with creative practitioners and cultural organisations to interpret the project in artistic and innovative ways. This has included: Open House partnership – This is public Partnering with the Melbourne’s Open House the Creative Program has offered hundreds of people the opportunity to go on site during construction. The program also sponsored and helped produce the successful ‘This is public’ podcast. Melbourne Music Week 2018 – Tunnel Vision In November 2018, the Metro Tunnel Creative Program arranged access to construction sites so that a local musician could record the noises of piling and excavation. The end result was a two-hour performance as part of Melbourne Music Week held at ACMI. The Tunnel / Vision performance also included an immersive multi-media experience featuring time-lapse of the construction. Tunnel / Vision provided an innovative way of interpreting the Metro Tunnel project – taking the sounds and reinventing them for a new audience. The Artefacts Filmmaker Michael Beets created an immersive VR experience that bought to life some of the stories behind the finds from the project's archaeological digs.